Let Freedom Ring in Persia--if it can

What I wrote two years ago is, sadly, still what I would say today.


Toni said…
I have often wondered why Iranians differentiate themselves between Persians and Iranians. The easy assumption to make is that those self-identifying as Persians wish to avoid the more stereotypical religious maniac image the West fosters about Iran. Lets face it the Shah and his regime were often viewed as being decadent but surely no worse than the Arab leaders Anyone who has spent time in the first class section of Emirates knows that like the pigs in Animal Farm not all rules apply to the leaders in the way they apply to the proles. I also know little about Iran but am aware of its key historic role. Iran is also a real country with a significant population and all the attendant problems that brings with it, rather than the disneyland-like feel of the Emirates and Kuwait where a small population is sustained by massive oil wealth. Indeed Dubai and its desperate cash call to Abu Dhabi is a good example of what to expect from much of the Middle East when the oil finally runs out. Iran has seemingly managed to maintain a normal society, well for a restrictive theocracy, despite many years of harsh sanctions. But lets not forget it still has massive oil wealth, even if the aging infrastructure puts them in the odd position of having to import refined fuel. And there is surely no doubt tat its strategic geographic position ensures support from other interested countries like Russia and to be honest China seems to have no qualms about purchasing commodities from any regime, hardly being in a position to criticize.
I wish there was a better relationship between the West and Iran and I wish Iranian people had more rights but I am under no illusion about the level of our freedoms here in the UK. I know very little about Islam and even less about the difference between Sunni and Shi'ite, (I am just glad I was not born in a muslim country). It would be foolish for the West to attempt a military action against Iran for a number of reasons, one of which being we just can't afford it. Unfortunately the economic state of a nation is as likely to cause a war as deter it. You would have thought that after all this time we would have learnt tat war isn't the answer but I think the Iranians should be aware that as long as they continue to be belligerent towards Israel and US interests in general Te west will be prepared to react militarily.
Martin Meenagh said…
I think that 'Iranian' is taken as the more nationalist term, given that they have something like three dozen ethnic minorities there, whereas Persian is a classical term much used by the non-Muslim (former) aristocrats and zoroastrians who used to be in charge. That's what I was told long ago, anyway. I agree that Meccanomics is a fragile beast--and Saudi's attempt to buy a middle class is clearly failing too. I just wonder how long it will be before things come down to the Saudi-Iran conflict that one can see behind many of the puppet regimes there. My point, as you reflect, was that we can't afford and should never engage in a Persian war--it only unites them and is equivalent to a Russian war--but I wish that they weren't so steeped in lunacy. Perhaps we could suborn them with trade--except we're on our knees economically at the minute anyway, in no small part thanks to our previous record of glorious half-assed crusades.
Persia said…
I look forward to the day we don't "differentiate" ourselves much anymore and consider Earth to be inhabited by one human race retaining as much of our collective cultural diversity as possible including all of the best technology, cuisine, fashion, and art.
Martin Meenagh said…
Oh, I don't know--I think that it's very human. We are united in God, in our humanity, in reason, but we can never see these things wholly. Choose whom you like--St Paul, seeing through a glass darkly, or David Hume talking about sentiments and how they mislead us--we all need something of our own. We're primates after all.
Still, I sympathise. What would it take not to differentiate ourselves? Some Star-Trek style war? Some gross accident, or contact with some other intelligence here or elsewhere? You really have to go to extremes to think like that.

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